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THE OMAYYAD CALIPHATE          59
taken, and Abul Abbas, emerging from hiding, was
after a time proclaimed Caliph by the victorious
army.
^ -The Battle of the Great Zaby A.H. 132 (750).While
this struggle was going on, another force, detached by
Kahtaba from Nahavand, defeated the troops of Merwan's
son Abdulla and occupied Upper Mesopotamia. The
Caliph, who lived at Harran, at last took the field in
person, crossed the Tigris, and marched down its left bank
with an army 120,000 strong. He crossed the Zab by a
bridge, intending to fight a decisive battle with the
Abbasid forces commanded by Abdulla, uncle of Abul
Abbas. To stimulate the avaricious Arabs Merwan told
them that he had brought treasures with which to reward
them* This caused a movement towards the camp on
the part of some of the tribesmen which was mistaken for
flight, A panic ensued and the entire army fled, thousands
being drowned in the Great Zab. From the field of
battle the victors advanced on Mosul and the unfortunate
Merwan was hunted down and killed. With him perished
the Omayyad dynasty.
The Condition of Persia under the Omayyad Dynasty.
In this chapter I have given as far as possible the history
of Persia as a province of the Moslem Empire. In a
period of universal tyranny and oppression, when tyrants
like Hajjaj represented the Caliph, it is certain that
the Persian people were worse treated than under the
first four Caliphs, who invariably attempted to secure
justice and to repress tyranny and corruption. The in-
habitants of Khorasan were largely instrumental in the
overthrow of the Omayyad dynasty. It was among them
that the Abbasid agents found their most devoted
followers, and we have the remarkable spectacle of a
people risking life and property to serve a man of an
alien race whom they had never seen, and serving him
with rare fidelity and devotion. It was this spirit in-
spiring the followers of the Black Standard which enabled
them to overcome the Arabs of Syria, who were lukewarm
so for as the Caliph was concerned, and thought merely
of their personal, or at most their tribal interests. Conse-